Love 4 min read

5 Tips For Avoiding A Parental Meltdown

Timeouts can be good for Mom and Dad, too.

Parenting requires the best of us, even when we're running on fumes. Being a loving parent, enaged partner and productive member of society can require Herculean effort. The good news is we're not alone –– there is parenting sanity on the horizon!

1. Call On Your Village

People say “it takes a village” to raise children, but the village, and all its connections, can be even more vital to us as parents. Knowing that we are not alone, and that other people have had similar experiences with their kids, helps get us through the tough times. This will pass! Oscar-winning actress Viola Davis shared  this in a recent interview about making mistakes as a parent: “It’s hard to forgive yourself and understand that you are not destroying your child.” Davis reminds us that talking about your mistakes and forgiving yourself is crucial. You're not the worst parent in the world. Your mom, best friend and aunt likely know your pain. Text someone, call them and meet up to blow off some steam. You need your village more than you realize.

2. Go Social

Fulfilling your daily role as a parent can lead to fatigue, sleep deprivation and increased levels of stress. To ward off a meltdown, allow yourself a quick escape on social media. Find recipes you love on Pinterest, share uplifting stories on Facebook and proudly post the picture of your son playing for his middle school football team. A survey done by the Australian Psychological Study finds, “Increased social participation provides benefits to people’s self-esteem and mental health suggesting that taking part in online social networking is likely to lead to positive outcomes for some people.” Tap into social media to get your mind out of the fog; if only for a few precious minutes, escape into a different world.  

3. Give Yourself A Timeout

This is easier said than done, but it is vital to find some time for yourself outside of your duties as a parent. When is the last time you had a slow-paced dinner and a peaceful walk along the beach with your partner? According to a Forbes Woman and The Bump.Com study, “‘Me’ time is the number-one sacrifice of working and stay-at-home moms.” In order to avoid the dreaded parental meltdown, it is vital that you go out, immediately. Visit your favorite jazz club, go to the bookstore or take your partner out for some coffee and stargazing. Some precious time away from all of your parenting duties will rejuvenate you. Of course, one night out is not an elixir to rid you of all the stressors that go with parenting, but it will fill you with some lasting and well-deserved joy!

4. Fall In Love With Music

Develop a love affair with Pandora, YouTube and Spotify. You once had time to listen to your favorite love song over and over; now you can’t remember the last time you weren’t listening to the kiddie station. Fall in love with music again! Recent research suggests that listening to different kinds of music can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline. Although the science is clear that music is at once therapeutic and stress relieving, our hearts know that the right music soothes our souls. Find your old favorites or explore new songs –– shake parts of yourself you forgot were there! 

5. Breathe And Let Go

Our kids are not perfect, our families are not perfect and we certainly have much of our own to learn. While speaking to Oprah’s Life Class, T.D. Jakes reminded us that the perfect family does not exist. He said, “It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to be flawless. It doesn’t have to be what you had in mind. You can’t control it ... you need to learn how to love imperfect people ... because if you succeed at loving imperfect people, then it becomes plausible that someone can love imperfect you.” We will use these rough times to take three deep cleansing breaths, which scientists say activates the relaxation response in our bodies, and remember Jakes’ insight. As we let go of the need for perfectly behaved kids and take a physical break in the heat of the moment, not only do we avoid a parental meltdown, but we also remain present in the gift of today.

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